Live Updates: Ukraine Is Withdrawing From Sievierodonetsk

Credit…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

KYIV, Ukraine — As the European Union summit started in Brussels on Thursday night, an aide to Ukraine’s overseas minister tuned into the proceedings on a laptop computer.

The minister, Dmytro Kuleba, whose left leg was in a good crimson cast after a basketball harm, was upbeat as he watched the European Council grant his war-battered nation one thing it had been in search of with out success for years: the coveted standing as a candidate to affix the bloc.

It was probably the greatest items of reports for Ukraine, which is in its fourth month of battle, since a profitable counteroffensive pushed Russian troopers away from the capital. Mr. Kuleba mentioned the council’s transfer was “the most important step in overcoming the last psychological barrier in the relations between Ukraine and the European Union.”

Still, he acknowledged that his nation must wait a very long time earlier than it may be part of the 27-member bloc. The motion by the European Council, composed of the leaders of the member states, was simply step one in a yearslong course of, and Ukraine must make progress on combating corruption and imposing the rule of regulation to lastly move muster.

“Sure, there will be talks, reforms here and in the European Union,” he mentioned. “I don’t care. As long as the decision that Ukraine is Europe is taken, I’m fine. History has been made.”

Mr. Kuleba mentioned that for many years, as Ukrainians fought for democracy in protest actions in 2004 and 2014, Brussels and different European capitals nonetheless “were entertaining this idea of a buffer zone of something in the middle, a bridge between Russia and the E.U.”

In the final part, he mentioned, European leaders have been unofficially “winking” at Ukrainian officers. “Like, ‘Guys, everything will be fine, it will take years, but in the end you will be with us,’” he mentioned. “But they were still afraid to say it out loud.”

As Mr. Kuleba was talking within the interview, air raid sirens wailed in Kyiv. An aide bumped into the office to say that there have been 10 Russian missiles flying above Ukrainian airspace.

“I’m not surprised that the Russians would fire something at Kyiv today,” Mr. Kuleba mentioned, including that the symbolism of the day wouldn’t be lost on the Kremlin.

Mr. Kuleba, 41, a career diplomat, mentioned he noticed the European Union as “the first ever attempt to build a liberal empire” on democratic rules, contrasting it with the Russia’s aggression towards former Soviet states underneath President Vladimir V. Putin.

“I understand that people do not like the word empire, but this is how history is written,” Mr. Kuleba mentioned. “You have to show that different things of a similar scale can be built on different principles: those of liberalism, democracy, respect for human rights, and not on the principle of imposition of the will of one on the rest.”

Mr. Kuleba mentioned he was grateful to different Western allies, particularly the United States, for navy and political assist. However, he mentioned he hoped for a extra express articulation of Washington’s battle goals.

“We are still waiting for the moment when we hear a clear message from Washington that for Washington, the goal of this war is for Ukraine to win and for international law to be restored,” he mentioned. “And Ukraine’s victory for Washington means restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

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